A new outdoor learning guide launched on June 21st at Plas yBrenin Mountain Centre, Snowdonia sets out the framework for getting children and young people outside, learning in Wales’ beautiful wild places.

The guide, launched by Welsh naturalist and ambassador for outdoor learning Iolo Williams, draws on the collective knowledge and experience of outdoor practitioners from across Wales.  It will help teachers and educators to embed the use of the outdoors in learning and teaching in order to provide powerful learning experiences.

Outdoor Learning Ambassador, Iolo Williams, said,

“It is a privilege to be part of this event today to encourage more children and young people to enjoy learning outdoors.  We often hear about mental health issues, obesity and poor physical health and the outdoors has an important part to play tackling these issues.

“I wasn’t that great at conventional education, and there are many people like me, but I did enjoy going to a walk with my grandfather and my mother learning about nature.  I see this as encouragement for other children and adults to do the same thing, learning outside the conventional classroom.”

The guide is a development building work done by Menter Iaith Conwy with other enterprises in the outdoor sector in the area to develop young people’s skills through the medium of Welsh.

Meirion Davies, Cheif Executive of Menter Iaith Conwy says:

“Menter Iaith Conwy has recognised the outdoor sector as an important area for the region for many years. Through European funding and support from the Snowdonia National Park we have offered hundreds of opportunities for Welsh speakers to gain qualifications in the field and go on to work in the field.

Another important step is to increase children’s interest in the outdoor sector and offer them experiences. So we were keen to work with the Wales Council for Outdoor Learning to ensure that a Welsh and Welsh version of these guidelines was available. We have helped by bringing the funding package together to realise it. They are now available and are on the way to every school in the country.”

The guide was developed by the Outdoor Education Advisors Panel Cymru in partnership with the Wales Council for Outdoor Learning to be used by schools, colleges, youth services, clubs and centres in Wales.

Arwel Elias, North Wales Outdoor Education Advisor said

The outdoor environment has huge potential to bring learning to life for all ages and abilities and we are extremely fortunate to have such rich natural environments on our doorstep.

“First hand experiences in the natural environment offer motivating, exciting, relevant and easily accessible opportunities for learners. These contribute to developing knowledge and skills described in the four purposes and six areas of learning and experience in the new Curriculum for Wales.”

Phil Stubbington of the John Muir Trust and chair of the Wales Council for Outdoor Learning added

“We would like to thank our partners, Snowdonia National Park Authority, Mountain Training Cymru, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Menter Iaith Cymru, Natural Resources Wales and the John Muir Trust for their funding and support, as none of it would have been possible without them.”

‘High Quality Outdoor Learning for Wales’ sets out the first phase of an ambitious new strategy for outdoor learning in Wales, with backing from Welsh Government and the department for Education.  For more information, or to download the new ‘High Quality Outdoor Learning for Wales’ guide (available in Welsh or English), visit www.oeap.co.uk or WalesCouncil for Outdoor Learning www.walescouncilforoutdoorlearning.org or click on the photo below: